I don't know about y'all, but there's not one thing that I can think of that I don't like about this time of year. And while I typically cook, at least four times out of each week, there is something about the cool autumn air that beckons me to spend more time in the kitchen, coming up with dishes that will make me feel all warm and cozy inside.
While I was looking for a couple of new recipes to try, I happened upon some fall food trends that I thought some of you might be interested in hearing about. All of them are delicious. All of them are easy to come by. And, best of all, all of them are sure to make your autumn menus even more divine.
1. Edible Containers
While I definitely don't like a messy kitchen (yuck), I must admit that, unlike a lot of my friends, I am not the kind of person who is gonna have a coronary if a dish is in the sink when I turn in at night. That might be why I was so geeked when I saw that one of the current big food trends right now are edible containers. In short, it's basically what the phrase says—containers that you can eat once you finish eating whatever is inside of them.
For instance, I really like to put homemade soup into some bread. It's sooooo good. While it might look bougie, this is actually one of the easiest dishes on the planet to make. If you don't wanna make your own soup, all you need to do is get some round bread loaves from your local grocery store. Cut about 1/3" deep circle around the top of each loaf. Heat up some soup (or stew) and pour it into the hole. Whew, chile! By the way, if you wanna impress yourself and make some bread bowls yourself, I found a pretty cool recipe here so that you can do just that.
I actually grew up consuming more carob (at least in my home) than chocolate. While it doesn't quite hit the mark of the deliciousness of chocolate, it's honestly not all that far off and is a viable chocolate alternative.
On the health tip, carob is good for you because it contains no caffeine, is gluten-free, is super high in potassium and calcium, and it's low in fat and sodium. Carob is also high in fiber and antioxidants too.
I personally like carob in the form of a cup of hot carob milk or even carob brownies. If you want to take a stab at either one, a recipe for the drink is here; the ones for brownies is here. Having both of these on a cold autumn day while watching a throwback movie? Life doesn't get much better than that.
Something else that has been a big food trend, pretty much all year-long, has been drinks that are low in alcohol. Now before y'all completely side-eye me on this (because I KNOW y'all ain't giving up any red wine any time soon), this doesn't mean you've gotta totally go without. Again, we're just talking about actual trends here.
As far as wine goes, the kind that is super popular right now is Piquette. If you're not particularly familiar, in a nutshell, it's a wine that's made from the skins, seeds, stems and pulp that remains after grapes are processed in order to make wine in the first place. As a result, in contains somewhere between 4-9 percent alcohol while more traditional brands have somewhere between 12-15 percent. So, if you wanna still toss a couple of glasses back but you also want to be cognizant of how much alcohol you take into your system, Piquette is a really dope compromise.
4. Tajin Seasoning
If you're someone who likes to experiment with seasonings a lot—or you've just started cooking at home more and you want to learn about other ingredients that you can add to your favorite dishes—how about adding Tajin (pronounced ta-heen) seasoning to your pantry? It's a seasoning that is popular in a lot of Mexican cuisine. As far as what it tastes like, tangy lime is probably the best description. A lot of people use it as a meat rub, as a complement for any recipes that have foods like pineapples and cucumbers in it, and it tends to go in alcoholic drinks like margaritas and Micheladas as well. I don't know about y'all, but I can do some fish tacos or chicken quesadillas any time of year, so yeah…this seasoning trend is good news to know about. (You can usually find it at your local grocery store, by the way.)
5. Chocolate Chili
Chili is that stick-to-your-ribs-when-it's-freezing kind of meal and I'm totally here for it! Believe it or not, it's actually got its fair share of health benefits too. Thanks to the beans and/or meat in chili, it's filled with protein. The beans also mean that chili has quite a bit of fiber in it. Ingredients like peppers provide antioxidants, and chilies specifically, contain endorphin and serotonin that can help you to feel calmer and relaxed. As a bonus, believe it or not, capsaicin (an active component in chili peppers) can actually curb sugar cravings too.
While chili is pretty much "in" during any time of the year, a particular kind that is a big trend this fall season is chocolate chili. No, it's not about putting a couple of Kit Kats into an already-made bowl; it's about adding some pure dark chocolate into the mix. Health-wise, dark chocolate adds more antioxidants into your chili; taste-wise, it makes the recipe so much thicker and richer. If you wanna give chocolate chili a shot, click here for a "regular" recipe and here for a Mexican-style one.
6. Honey Butter
Now, if there is something that I can testify about, it's honey butter! If you want to know the difference between butter vs. margarine, Medical News Today has a good read on it here. Anyway, if you like to have a slice of toast or a bagel in the morning, putting a little honey butter on either one is about as good on the cinnamon toast that a lot of us adored as children. Not only does honey butter taste really good, honey has all kinds of health benefits. Some of them include the fact that it's also a food that is high in antioxidants (the kind that can help to keep your blood pressure low), and it can help to improve your cholesterol levels and suppress coughing; especially in children. As far as the kind of honey that's best, raw or manuka are your best bet because honey offers more nutrients whenever it is in its purest form.
7. Chickpea Crust (or Pinsa)
I don't know about y'all but, to me, it seems like the past couple of years, all I've been hearing about is cauliflower rice and crust (both ain't half bad either). Well, as we're easing into 2021, what is getting its time to shine is chickpea flour (which is how you can make chickpea crust). Chickpeas are good for you because they're a good source of protein and fiber, along with folate and manganese. If you're looking for something that will help to regular your blood sugar levels, keep your weight in check, support digestion and even help to fight against heart disease and cancer, chickpeas will do it.
The reason why it's on the list of fall food trends especially, is because another popular food for this season is pinsa. What's that? It's a kind of pizza that is lighter and healthier than more popular kinds. If nothing makes you happier than a slice of pizza on a cool autumn day, you can get a recipe on how to make traditional pinsa here and a recipe for how to make gluten-free chickpea pizza crust here.
8. Blue Tea
While I was checking out 2020 food trends, my something new for the day that I came across was blue tea. First, a part of the reason why it makes the list because Pantone's color of this year is blue. From a color psychology standpoint, I'm a fan of blue because it symbolizes things like calm, wisdom and tranquility so, already I'm down to give blue tea a shot.
From what I've read, it's a drink that is loaded with antioxidants and anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels, it helps to reduce anxiety and stress, it detoxifies your system and (get this) blue tea also can help to reduce a fever too. So clearly, you can see why a warm cup of it would be perfect during the autumn and winter seasons.
(A reportedly great brand is Wild Hibiscus Flower Co. Heart-Tee Blue Tee.)
Pretty much, no matter what article that I read on this year's food trends (including the ones that specifically referenced the fall season), lasagna kept on coming up. From what I researched, there's no real rhyme or reason for why this dish is such a fall fan favorite. It's simply a comfort food that restaurants and home-cooking folks alike are serving up quite a bit right now.
By the way, if you want to try a take on lasagna that doesn't include pasta noodles, I sometimes make mine with zucchini instead. You can use a vegetable peeler to remove the hard skin and then to create "noodles" with what's inside of it. Zucchini is an awesome alternative because, health-wise, it's low in fat while being high in Vitamin A and also containing a good amount of manganese, fiber, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamins C and K. Zucchini aids in health digestion, improves heart health, helps to keep your vision strong, lowers cholesterol levels and, thanks to the lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene that's also in zucchini, it's the kind of vegetable that helps to delay aging signs too. If you'd like to try this twist to traditional lasagna, you can check out a recipe here.
A lot of people in my world are flexitarians. Those are individuals who are vegetarians most of them time, but they do eat meat and/or fish from time to time. While veganism has been all the rage for the past few years, it's actually flexitarianism that is creeping its way onto the scene. It can consist of putting some meat on a salad sometimes, enjoying salmon with your grilled veggies or doing something like making homemade turkey burgers with vegetables like mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in them.
Flexitarianism is a great way to stay on top of your fruits and veggies without feeling guilty about enjoying a turkey leg, some pot roast or anything else your heart desires this holiday season. So, enjoy it and all of these fall food trends, sis. Fully.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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Developing a wellness routine is essential to your mental well-being. When we neglect ourselves, that neglect can bleed over into every aspect of our lives. As a wellness founder, for a minute, if I'm honest, I thought I had wellness down to a science. I assumed it would be easy for me to keep up with my routine because I fought so hard to get here. That falling off would be impossible for me until I did, and I realized that healing is, unfortunately, not at all as linear as I thought it would be.
Navigating through the pandemic took me through levels of depression and burnout that I never thought possible, and one day, I looked up and didn't recognize myself in more ways than one. My yoga mat that had once been at the foot of my bed for daily stretching was rolled away into a dark corner. The dust had formed on my gym bag and gua sha tools, and I hadn't seen my massage therapist in over five months. The wellness rituals that I held close became a stranger to me, and I found myself asking, "How did I get here, and more importantly, how do I get back to what feels like home to me?"
Many times I felt ashamed and embarrassed and couldn't put language to the fatigue that I couldn't shake. As a Black woman, especially one that has accomplished some level of success, there's the pressure that you put on yourself, and then there's the pressure from those around you to keep going, to work harder, to keep soaring. I never wanted to do the opposite, but I yearned for solitude.
It's such a strange feeling to be happier than you ever have in your career but simultaneously feel yourself slipping away.
Once I discovered that I had been experiencing cycles of burnout, I knew that I had to take action to pull myself out of the hole I found myself in. If you're struggling to grab hold of your wellness routine, it's still possible for you to apply these practices in order to get back to putting yourself first.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
Give yourself grace and gentleness as you form these good habits again. Ignore the urge to talk down to yourself and harp on what you can't change, as it will not only delay the process of you enjoying the routine again but because it isn't kind. Negative self-talk is the last thing you need; extend gentleness to the part of yourself that needs to step away and welcome her back into your life.
2. Slowly work your way back into your routine.
If you were a 5 a.m. gym girl, perhaps you should head back to the gym on the first day at 7 a.m. and, by the end of the week, work your way up to 5 a.m. Did you have a morning journaling practice for twenty minutes a day? Start back up, taking the pressure off with a five- to 10-minute session. Allowing yourself to start slow gives you a small victory on this journey.
3. Get clear on your goals.
As we change, so do our needs, especially as it relates to wellness and routines, and as a result of that, your routine might need to look different this time around. Sit with yourself and determine your wellness goals - mind, body, and spirit- and then create a game plan. From there, decide what habits you used to enjoy still hold to your needs now, and as time progresses, merge the needs of former you and who you are now together.
4. Create systems of sustainable rest.
Burnout and exhaustion are often so normalized for Black women, so we have to go out of our way to ensure that we are cared for. Often, as a society, we view rest as something that you do when you're tired or overwhelmed in order to refuel and get back to work, but we've had it all wrong, especially when it comes to Black women.
Our rest is crucial because our lives depend on it. Working until we can't go anymore is not the way. As Nap Bishop Tricia Hersley once said, "Rest is resistance." Your rest does not need to be reserved for summer vacation or PTO. Your rest can be a nap, moving and working slower, not feeling the urge to respond to messages and calls immediately, or moving at a slower pace.
Find your way back to yourself, sis. You got this, and I can't wait to see how your life has changed once you begin to prioritize yourself and your wellness again.
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